Upper Mustang Trek is the ultimate off-the-beaten-track gateway to the mysterious Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang called Lo. The journey is a spectacular walking through a striking semi-arid desert with colorful rock formations, deep gorges, and ever-stretching gorgeous scenery.
For decades, this trans-Himalayan region was restricted and secluded from the rest of the world, but it was able to develop its own distinct culture and rich traditions similar to Tibet. This region, which borders Tibet, has a particular Tibetan flavor to it, both in terms of people and culture, as well as in terms of terrain, and it once had its kingdom, with Lo Manthang as its capital.
The ancient monasteries, traditional villages, and architectural caves aboding high up on the cliffs are the prime highlights of the walled city of Lo Manthang.
Upper Mustang is rich in mythical and profound legends, strong Buddhist culture, thousands of years of protected historical sites, and open-hearted locals. Even though modernization has had an impact on the area, visitors are nonetheless surprised by its unique culture and traditions. We can feel the spirit of the real mountain people in their natural habitat battling to keep ancient history and culture alive.
This 18 days journey traverses through one of the driest places in Nepal and offers the uniqueness of the treeless terrain, rocky routes, and views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and other peaks. Despite being the driest and receiving the least amount of rainfall, it is alive with life and awe-inspiring grandeur. This vast land is quenched by the majestic mountain rivers that pour from the highlands.
The Upper Mustang Trek here is unlike any other in Nepal, embracing cultural exploration as well as breathtaking landscapes. It is all about delving into the mysterious world of Mustang's ancient Buddhist monarchy. The trip is the ideal blend of culture and trekking, as it was designed to be. In the heart of the forest, far away from the bustling world. Allow the Himalaya to hug you and immerse yourself in the Mustang's magic.
Major attractions of Upper Mustang Trek
- Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Tibetan-influenced culture and tradition
- Semi-arid desert with steep ravines and rock shelves bordered by snow-capped peaks
- An excellent excursion to escape the summer monsoon, lying in the rain shadow
- View of Annapurna, Nilgiri, and Dhaulagiri
- Visit Amchi Museum and Amchi School (traditional medicinal school)
- Chhoser Cave, a four-story structure with 50+ private rooms and a communal kitchen
- Trek through a barren desert terrain dotted by spires and cliffs
- Feel the spiritual feeling from the Gompas, chortens, flapping prayer flags, ritual chanting, caves, rock murals, and century-old monasteries there
Upper Mustang Trek Difficulty
Upper Mustang Trek is considered moderately a difficult one. The trek is, nevertheless, achievable if you are physically healthy and eager to see the trans-Himalayan terrain. It is appropriate for people of all ages, especially families with children and seniors. Most walkers will be able to complete the Upper Mustang journey without any restrictions or limitations. This walk, however, necessitates a respectable level of fitness.
The walk-in Upper Mustang is deemed difficult due to the altitude and arid environment. There are ups and downs on this walk, like on many treks in the Nepal Himalayas. High passes must be traversed, as well as steep descents. In terms of weather, because this hike is in the rain shadow, you can do it virtually any time of year.
The average number of walking hours per day is 6-7. Both novice and experienced trekkers can complete the Upper Mustang trip. However, to complete this expedition, you should have a decent level of fitness. So, put in some extra gym or trekking time before you arrive, like with other treks in Nepal. Work on your cardio as well as your leg muscles.
AMS During Upper Mustang Trekking
While trekking to Upper Mustang, altitude is not a concern as you will be constantly below 4,000 m during the trekking period, which means that even if you get symptoms of Altitude Sickness (AS), such as headache, nausea, or vomiting, there is a lower risk of serious altitude consequences.
However, at such a great altitude, you must be cautious about following acclimatization measures. Altitude sickness has the potential to be lethal. Anti-altitude sickness medication, such as Diamox, is beneficial. Also, descending at a lower altitude is the ideal strategy. To take the appropriate measures, one should always seek assistance from the guides or team leaders.
Also, it is always best to consult with the doctors before embarking on a higher altitude trek.
Best Season for Upper Mustang
A trip to Mustang's unique lands is doable at any time of year. The greatest time to visit Mustang, Nepal, depends on what you want to get out of the trip. Every four distinct seasons in Mustang has its own set of benefits and a distinct aesthetic offering a unique terrain, natural setting, and trekking experience.
Spring (March, April, May) Season
In Mustang, spring is when everything comes to life when fresh plants emerge and flowers flourish. As you walk to Mustang, you will be surrounded by the enormous splendor of nature. This is an excellent time to explore both lower and upper Mustang, as the weather will be warmer and the rivers in the lower parts will be brimming with snowmelt.
If you want to traverse high passes or go climbing in Upper Mustang, this is the finest time of year. The Tiji Festival takes place in Lo-Manthang in the middle of May. This three-day celebration is a compelling reason to visit in May.
Summer (June, July, August) Season
Upper Mustang is located in the Annapurna range's rain shadow. As a result, summer trips to Upper Mustang are pleasant, dry, and well-lit. The weather is perfect, and the trails are in excellent condition with long, warm, and sunny days, and stunning visibility. Upper Mustang's rivers and fauna are at their peak during the summer.
Though you may encounter damp weather in Lower Mustang in summer/monsoon, making your trails muddy and slippery, Mustang's natural beauty gets enhanced by the little rainfall.
In conclusion, Upper Mustang Trek is one of Nepal's most beautiful summer treks.
Autumn (September, October, November)Season
Autumn is one of the best and busiest times of year to trek to the Mustang in Nepal. During the autumn months, you may need to book things ahead of time.
The weather in Mustang is usually dry and cold in the autumn with clearer skies, and you will be able to see different mountain ranges along the paths.
Winter (December, January, February) Season
With heavy snowfall, the winter in Mustang is one of the coldest of all seasons. For your protection, some of the high passes and small peak climbs may stay blocked. This is the greatest time to visit Mustang for trekkers who want solitude and tough treks and searching for a more intimate Upper Mustang trek experience.
The hiking pathways are snow-covered and many Mustang residents retreat to a lower altitude during this season due to harsh cold. To make a successful winter trek to Upper Mustang, you should have the proper equipment, gear, and clothing.
Permits for Upper Mustang Trek
There are two types of permits required for the Upper Mustang Trek. We, Himalayan Trekkers will take care of all permits.
- ACAP (Annapurna Conservation) Fees: NPR. 3000 (Approximately USD 28.00) per person
- Restricted Area Permit (RAP): USD 500 per person for 10 days. However, if you spend more time than that, you will require an additional USD 50.00 per person for each additional day.
Note: Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) is not required for this journey since Special Permit is required.